Considering it's mid-November and hasn't stopped raining in weeks, it's not a bad time to think about spring training in Arizona, where this morning it's 82 degrees and dry.
The Seattle Mariners aren't sure yet when they'll open camp – probably around Valentine's Day – or who will manage or coach the team when it reports to Peoria, Ariz. But this will be one Cactus League season unlike any other once it begins.
For one thing, there are a couple of new teams, the Dodgers and Indians, in the mix. For another, the Mariners exhibition-game scheduled begins Feb. 25 and doesn't end until April 4, in part so players taking part in the World Baseball Classic can do so, return to their teams and get into shape for the regular season.
Spring training is where players aren't yet crabby (their stats don't count), managers are more likely to sign autographs (the losses don't count) and everyone seems to actually be enjoying themselves.
It's hard to forget the day in Peoria Stadium when a swarm of bees overwhelmed Mariners outfielder Scott Podsednik and fans beyond the left field wall. The bees eventually moved on.
Or the time Eddie Guardado came flying out of a dugout because he'd encountered a snake there. Turned out to be the non-poisonous variety, but Eddie hated snakes.
Going way back, Ken Griffey Jr. would sit and talk to fans through a fence between rounds of batting practice, Mike Blowers – never a morning person – would yell 'Good morning!' to the small crowd of fans who gathered each day to watch workouts.
In short, it's as relaxed a time as there is between players and fans. And, did we mention, it's usually warm. And dry.
Right now, it can't come soon enough.